Tuesday, April 10, 2012

My Life Story: Underneath the Sky


If I were to describe my childhood with one word I would choose: full.

My childhood was full of siblings. Full of aunts, uncles and cousins (many of them living across the street, up the road, around the corner). Full of traditions--holidays with fireworks or egg hunts or spoils from Santa's bag. Full of friends, sweet, dear girls who were kind and funny.

It was full of energetic teachers who encouraged me to write and be creative. I wrote pages of poetry and stories, speeches and plays. Every year my mother would write down quotes my teachers said about me, "she's a natural leader" "she's kind to everyone" and to my shock, my favorite teacher of all Mrs. Busco wrote that I was a "beauty" on the valentine she gave me that year in school.

I had a full life of church activity. I grew up in the epicenter of Mormonism, across the street from BYU and blocks away from the MTC and Provo Temple. Sundays we attended church and had huge family dinners in the late afternoons. We went to ward parties and camp outs, all of us arriving in our two-toned Suburbans. I babysat for the young couples in the ward, their babies with matching names and rented basement apartments.

My childhood was full of trips to Seattle, Southern California and St. George. But there was no better trip, in my mind, then the triannual visits we'd made to my favorite spot on earth: Lake Powell. It was there we would park our boat in a secluded alcove, camping underneath the stars, swimming in the cool water early in the morning, staying in all day letting the hot sun gradually warm the deep lake. We'd take day trips to Iceberg Canyon with its majestic red walls and serpentine pathways, perfect cliff diving spots, the natural artistry would hold me spellbound. It was at Lake Powell where I could feel spiritualism as it translated into the intricately carved canyons, the reds, yellows, the green of the morning water, the stars like glittering confetti in the dark, the blue--so brilliant--of the wild desert sky.

It was at Lake Powell, after days of letting my body dance with the sun and shadows, my skin touched with freckles like those stars we'd count at night, my lips red and puffed from the dry air, my hair a wild frock of wind-whipped curls, my nerves aware of sensations, my soul at ease, I'd look at myself in the faux-cracked mirror in the cabin of the boat and felt full of beauty. Perhaps the very beauty Mrs. Busco saw in me as an impressionable girl in her fifth grade classroom. A beauty not only marked by my physical presence, but a deeper sense of beautiful, one that made me feel powerful, mysterious, incomparable, eternal and full of the love of God.

21 comments:

Tamara said...

This is beautiful - I really enjoyed reading it.

Autumn said...

I have been loving reading your story. Thanks for sharing :)

Cheryl said...

I too grew up going to Lake Powell...one of the most beautiful places on earth!

minta said...

you make me want to go there even more now! I love reading your life story... thank you, again!

SuiGeNeRiS Speaks said...

It sounds so beautiful - I love the imagery of rocks and water, I have seen nothing like it! Adding it to my 'bucket list'.....and also thinking of places/times in my life when I have felt that centered, powerful and beautiful.

Hailee said...

I grew up feeling jealous of my Utah cousins who had a similar love affair with Lake Powell. They spoke about it as dreamily as you do, and I hated that I had never been there. Lake Powell, Lake Powell I would mock them in my mind as they crooned on and on about it. I was such a brat.

On a more serious note, I have a 10 year-old daughter who is less understood by her peers. She has such an intelligent spirit. I'll share this post with her and hope she can sense that beautiful is so much more than a pretty face and fitting in. Thanks for finding the words that the rest of cannot.

whitneyingram said...

Oh yes, Lake Powell. My greatest childhood memories materialized there. I HAVE to take my kids there.

First Mate said...

Lake Powell is truly transformative. And so full of the past and the present.

Write on....

TheKristencarol said...

Thank you miss cjane. I love reading about your life in your beautiful, full, honest words.

Noah's Mom said...

Beautiful words that you write. Thank-you for sharing with all of us & please continue.

Vanessa Brown said...

One day I will have to go to this place! Sounds magical

Trish and Greg said...

You captured vacations to Lake Powell exactly the way I remember them.


My family always made the annual trip to Lake Powell during the UEA Convention week, because kids were out of school Thursday and Friday. More than forty years later I can still close my eyes and picture myself in a secluded canyon; near enough to the campsite to hear the sounds of my family in the morning stages of shore camping; smell the campfire that my Dad has started so Mom can heat up the hot water for instant oatmeal and hot chocolate; feel the warm sun on my skin; hear the croak of a raven circling overhead in the amazing azure sky – all while listening to the gentle lapping of the lake on the slabs of red rocks. In an almost Zen-like state, I swear I became “one” with the red sandstone. It was always a very spiritual experience. As I got older, I shared this beautiful country with my husband, and then our children joined us on the annual outings.


That part of the world has made such an impression on me that I have tried to replicate the colors as I painted my house a rusty red with blue shutters, sponged my living room walls peach and terra-cotta and painted the ceiling a turquoise blue.


I will forever love all things related to Lake Powell, Moab, and all points of Canyon Country Southern Utah.

Erin Bigler said...

Mrs. Busco was also my fifth grade teacher, and I think she, remarkably, saw that beauty in all girls. I smile each time you mention her.

I've never been to Lake Powell (our family preferred Bryce and Capitol Reef) but I agree that Utah's desert lifts the soul like no place else on earth.

Mom of 2 Cuties said...

I love your blog. My question is, when did your "rich" life change. In a couple essays back you mentioned after your baptism your family couldn't afford to go to the finer dining and would have to go to the diner. But, in the recent essays you talk of trips to other states, Lake Powell and etc. When did things change for your family?

Jennifer said...

This is some very good shit.

Courtney Snowden said...

Visual and heartwarming. And I'm quite certain Mrs. Busco is a gem...

A and L Stapley said...

beautiful, thank you for reminding me of my younger years... I was just able to take my first daughter to Lake Powell for her first time this past weekend, she wore my infant life jacket! So amazing!!

it"s me said...

I loved the story about your first
bra..I could so relate,only I was at the other end of the spectrum. Not sure I'd ever need one.Again, you drew me in as you so vividly painted a picture of your wonderful summers at Lake Powell. I was one of you critics when you spoke of your opinion of child birth.So many
of us came down on you. I am grateful that you have continued to put yourself out there. I look forward to the fresh perspective
you give us and the way you articulate what so many of us can't.

Emily said...

Loved this post. First of all because I could almost feel myself back at Lake Powell when reading your description. And second of all, because Bonnie Busco is my aunt! A truly amazing lady - so fun that you know her!

Sam and Kat said...

Loved this one! I always describe Lake Powell as my favorite place on earth too! There really is nothing like it. I feel like people who have never been there will never fully understand the beauty and grandeur about it all. We still go every year and I still get just as excited now as I did years ago. Beautifully written. Thanks!

Mindy Gledhill said...

I didn't want this post to end.